Rest and recovery are often neglected when it comes to health and performance.
Too often do people pay attention to the amount of work conducted during a training session.
The amount of weight to lift, how many sets, reps, and type of exercises needed to produce results. But no one ever pays attention to sleep or rest from the gym.
If any of that sounds familiar, you are not alone.
In order to optimize performance, you have to find a balance between stress and recovery, both of which are controlled by the autonomic nervous system.
Gone are the days of ” no pain, no gain”.
Your body automatically does two things well: it either fights something or runs from it.
Think about the last time you had to do something adventurous or out of the ordinary? How did you feel? I’m willing to bet your heart rate was up, you felt nervous, and you were excited.
When you were done how did you feel? Relaxed, accomplished, calm?
When you feel threatened or are about to do something tough, your sympathetic nervous system provides a surge of energy. When you don’t need that energy anymore your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in order to balance things off.
Knowing when to get your body amped up for something and when to turn off all distractions is crucial to a healthy life.
We all know that we need to do this, yet it hardly happens.
Here Are 5 Ways To Enhance Recovery And Performance
- Check Your Ego When You Train
A good training session feels amazing. It leaves you feeling refreshed and awesome while breaking down the body so that you can rebuild and get stronger.
But many people get caught up in numbers and let the ego get the best of their sessions. Causing missed lifts and more frustration.
I’m even guilty of it myself, and it happens. But how do you think the body reacts when we try to do more?
The next time you don’t have the perfect training session, instead of going all out in the next set, take some time to rest and come back next time and crush it. Sometimes doing too much in one day is actually doing the opposite of creating great results.
Save that extra energy, your body will thank you.
2. Milestone Events Require More Recovery Days
I just completed a half marathon. It was tough, and with 14 hour work days, I was pushing my body to the limit.
At mile 9 during my event, my legs gave out and I could barely walk, but I finished. I have not run since my race and have been working on recovery and simple drills to build back my strength.
Anytime you complete a large event, you will need to recover a bit more. This is because when you do something tough, your body is in an extreme state of excitement.
If you go hard right after your event, your body will crash. Depending on your experience level, you may need to take a longer rest than anticipated. Use this time wisely so you can come back stronger for your next event.
3. Stop Program Hopping
Are you one of those people who is always wondering what is the latest and greatest fitness trend? Do you like to look up cool new exercises at the gym every time you workout?
While new stuff can be fun from time to time, it is never optimal for long-term performance. Second, guessing yourself and switching around adds more stress to your body, not to mention you’ll never let the nervous system calm down. This is playing with fire
If you find yourself doubting your programs and progress in the gym you will hinder your results. The best athletes in the world trust the process and get the work done. Maybe you should too.
4. Celebrate Special Occasions
It is the holiday season, which means a lot of people everywhere are celebrating joyous occasions. I think it is important to note that learning how to shut down from fitness mode is an important part of recovery and performance. Not to mention it is a lot of fun spending time with those you enjoy most.
I’ll be the first to admit that I love working out, but if you can’t find time to relax, then something is wrong with you. Having a good time is good for the soul. Make sure you enjoy whatever time you have left!
- Learn To Take Step Back And Breathe
This is the hardest one for me. I first learned about breathing during my internship at Cressey Sports Performance. We would use deep breathing as a way to turn off those overactive muscles.
The same thing can be said about stress and life. The next time you find yourself stressed to the max, take a step back and just breathe. It can calm you down and make everything better.
Those yogis have been doing it for centuries, maybe you should learn from them.
Your body is in a constant battle between stress and recovery. Finding out ways to tune out distractions and turn things off is an important part of health and performance. Lifting heavy every day or crushing your workouts to the max may hinder your performance long term. Whenever you are feeling tired, listen to your body and take a step back.